PepsiCo on Wednesday announced it had pulled a Mountain Dew commercial that had been widely blasted as racist and tone-deaf to spousal abuse.
The minute-long ad shows police asking a severely beaten woman to pick out her assailant from a police line-up of all black men — played by members of hip hop collective Odd Future — and a goat. The goat, voiced by Odd Future co-founder and the ad campaign's developer Tyler, The Creator, threatens the woman to keep quiet because "snitches get stitches."
The ad drew intense, widespread rebukes for its negative portrayal of black men. Prominent social critic and Syracuse professor Dr. Boyce Watkins called it "arguably the most racist commercial in history."
"Mountain Dew has set a new low for corporate racism," he says. "Their decision to lean on well-known racial stereotypes is beyond disgusting. This doesn't even include the fact that the company has put black men on par with animals."
The ad is the third in a series in which a Mountain Dew-crazed goat, dubbed Felicia, runs afoul of the law.
In response to the mounting criticism, Pepsi said Wednesday it had pulled the ads.
"We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended," a spokesperson said in a statement to AdWeek. "We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well."
Tyler, The Creator's manager issued a lengthy statement on Tumblr, in which he apologized that the ad had offended people and claimed that it was "never meant to be taken seriously."
For those who know and respect Tyler he is known for pushing boundaries and challenging stereotypes thru humor. This is someone who grew up on David Chappelle. This situation is layered with context and is a discussion that Tyler would love to address in the right forum as he does have a point of view. [The Phuckery]
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- This is how the U.S. thinks China could invade Taiwan
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Obama knows he can't really 'defeat' ISIS. Americans need to wake up to that reality, too.
- Can we lead spiritually fulfilling lives without religion?
- Surviving a plane crash
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The demagoguery of Ted Cruz and his cheerleaders in the conservative media
Subscribe to the Week